March 15, 2020: Be Like A Bird With A Song of Hope
During the past week, worldwide news has been filled with stories of dismay. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a US national emergency, an international pandemic, resulting in mass closings of schools and events worldwide. Social media platforms are filled with stories of shortages in the stores, leading to mass rushes to stockpile essentials. As a result, it’s a challenge to not become filled with discouragement and fear.
In a number of countries, citizens are told to stay home unless absolutely necessary, self-isolate if symptomatic, and stay away from public, crowded places. On a trip to the grocery store yesterday, my husband said that it felt surreal. Some rows were empty of products, but even stranger was the behavior of the shoppers. At four in the afternoon, for what usually was a busy Saturday, the store was relatively empty. People shopped with their heads down, not looking at each other, and it was eerily quiet.
Yet it is not a hopeless situation. Yes, it is a frightening feeling to encounter a disease that spreads this rapidly. But we can choose to be filled with fear and either deny the severity or overreact, or we can have confidence in the steps we take to prevent exposure or the spread of the illness .
There are common sense precautions we can take. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
We can also support the decisions to close schools and events, limit travel and adaptations to our workplaces, rather than be filled with anger and frustration, recognizing theses steps as preventive measures
While we’re encouraged to limit our exposures to others, we have many tools to keep up our communication and maintain connections, We have information at our fingertips, and phone calls continue to allow us to reach out. Compare that to times in history, where people were isolated and uninformed by lack of technology. We can reach out to our community of friends and family to commiserate and share concerns, ideas, and feelings.
This week in Italy, hard hit by the virus, made headlines in a hopeful way. Videos show Italian citizens standing out on balconies singing songs of reassurance, solidarity and the phase: andrà tutto bene (everything will be okay). Later health workers were applauded in a flashmob performance across the country and in Spain for their tireless efforts to heal and halt the disease.
This mindset of “we will be alright” gives a sense of hope in times of dispair. Yes, it is a scary time, but we can persevere. While it may feel like our wings are being clipped, we can still listen to the songs of hope that reside in our hearts and share them with others.
Be careful, be well and continue to listen to, look for and sing songs of hope.